The site in Meylan was chosen by Boehringer Mannheim in the mid-1970s based on its proximity to Grenoble, the French center for nuclear research with an educated engineering workforce.
By 2010 the original office building was no longer suitable for expansion and a competition amongst three architectural firms in 2013 provided the convincing concept for a new facility designed by the renowned French architect Dominique Perrault (DPA) based in Paris.
The solution proposed by DPA marks a clear presence with the shape of a cross in a spectacular alpine situation by creating individual sectors, each embraced by orthogonal wings. Each wing looks at two different neighboring green spaces and connects with adjacent wings through a central vertical communication space.
The orthogonal setup is typical for Roche buildings and on this site underlines the geographical orientation. The four storey complex with its glazed and reflective façades can be experienced by its transparency, sector by sector, comparable to an encompassing lighthouse.
The ground floor, next to the reception, features a «Street Café», where people congregate at the central vertical hub connecting the four floors by a link of transparent stairs set in a space with reflecting stainless steel surfaces and a spectacular view to the mountains. The art installation by Christian Herdeg is a shining elliptic sculpture changing colors every 12 hours and named «Flight through Space and Time».
The building includes underground parking, laboratories, customer training rooms and flexible offices and acts as the information center for French speaking countries in Europe and Africa.
Architect: Dominique Perrault (DPA), Paris. 2018
Art installation: Christian Herdeg